June is Men’s Health Month, and Men’s Health Week is June 12-18. This observance encourages men and their loved ones to make healthy choices that will benefit overall wellness. During the month of June, men can focus on getting regular exercise, eating nutritious meals and getting appropriate health screenings.
One of the most important preventive screenings is for colon cancer, including colonoscopy, which can detect and prevent colon cancer. Men should prioritize colon cancer screening like they do other preventive screenings, such as a prostate exam.
How common is colon cancer in men?
Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer diagnosed in women and men. It is estimated there will be more than 106,000 new cases of colon cancer in 2023, as well as 46,000 cases of rectal cancer. The lifetime risk of developing colon cancer is about 1 in 23 for men and 1 in 26 for women. However, certain risk factors can increase risk for the disease.
Symptoms and warning signs of colon cancer
Many myths surround colon cancer, one of which is that only older people get the disease. This is untrue. Anyone can develop colon cancer, regardless of age. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance reports 1 in 260 people will get colon cancer before they turn 50.
It is essential to know the symptoms of colon cancer:
- Abdominal pain
- Change in bowel habits (diarrhea or constipation)
- Blood in the stool
If you experience any of these warning signs, call your doctor.
The American Cancer Society recommends that men and women who are at average risk for colon cancer should start regular colon cancer screenings beginning at age 45. Those who are in good health should continue screening until 75.
Colon cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed early, and colonoscopy is the most effective test. Colonoscopy is the only screening that allows a doctor to inspect the entire colon for polyps, which can become cancerous. Your doctor can remove any suspicious polyps during your exam and have them analyzed.
Early detection and early treatment
Have you ever had a colon cancer screening? A colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening, so talk to your doctor about scheduling an exam.
If you are not under the care of a fellowship-trained gastroenterologist, we can help. Our colon cancer screening centers are located all over the country, and our friendly staff is ready to meet your health needs. Celebrate Men’s Health Month by calling to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.